Small Motel Cooling Tower?

Help me figure out something I saw when I was a kid.
We moved and had to stay in a motel a few days awaiting delayed furniture to arrive. It was an old style single level, drive up to your room type motel.
I distinctly remember that out in back there was a structure about the size of a phone booth with slats and a water spray. It's possible there were two, one for each wing of the motel.
I was kindergarten-aged so that's all I know.
It's not hard to deduce that it was part of their A/C system but I'm curious what was most likely. Would a small motel be likely to have had a chiller system, circulating chilled water to room units? Or was it more likely that the rooms had independent systems but they were water-cooled and plumbed to the tower(s)?
This would have been mid-1960's. Unfortunately I don't recall anything at all about the room units. I was more interested in the chocolate and orange Illinois Central passenger trains speeding by on the tracks just across the highway.
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I used to stay in a motel in Vegas with something like that. Pipes into ceiling mounted exchanger, with noisy fan. You turn the fan on or off. I remember owner mentioning about shutting one unit down to conserve.
Greg
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"gregz" wrote in message wrote:

====================== I can think of 4 types of systems that could be employed, in a small motel system, I will put them in order of what I think could be the best to the worse.
1/ Small independent water cooled air conditioning units, one for each motel unit. Using the cooling tower water for condensing. I suggest this as you only need to run the units where the motel units are rented out. In the case of a break down of an air conditioner only the area serviced by that system would be affected, unless of course there was a cooling tower or pump problem.
2/ A central chiller with a water cooled condenser, with the chilled water being piped around to individual fan coil units for each motel unit. In this case you need to run the chiller if only one unit is being rented out. If the chiller breaks down the whole system does not work.
3/ A central air conditioning refrigeration plant with refrigerant being piped around to individual fan coil units for each motel unit In this case there is quite a large amount if refrigerant in the system and if a leak occurs it would be expensive to fix it. Once again if only one unit was being rented the refrigeration system would have to be run. An unloading type compressor would possibly be used in this system for economy. Again if the refrigeration plant breaks down the whole system does not work.
4/ A central air conditioning system that ducts air to individual motel units. Again the whole system need to be run if only one motel unit is rented out and if it breaks down the whole motel has no conditioning
Of course each motel has its own requirements and this is a generalization.
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On Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:30:12 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@truthonly.com.Sword of Baal wrote:

Agree. And they can be very efficient. The building I work in has such a system, and it is very low on energy use. But as far as I know this type setup was never used in the 60s.
In general I dislike having the compressor in the sleeping room adding the noise. Also, the way most are set up eliminates any chance of humidity control - the ubiquitous PTAC is awful, and all motel window units have mold problems. But they are cheap, and as you point out when one breaks only one room is down.

In the 1960s almost certainly this was the setup.
I'll also guess it was a dry climate. Water towers have some efficiency advantages in dry climates, where in a moist climate (like Virginia where I work) air cooled chillers are easier.
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"TimR" wrote in message of Baal wrote:

Yes well I suppose it all depends on how much the owners wish to spend. Compressors in or close to the condition space can be noisy, but are one of the cheaper installs.
Then in the case of water cooled small package units (around a couple of horsepower) located away from the sleeping area, and having some internally insulated ductwork and having the unit in a sound insulated area would be pretty quiet.

I live in the tropics and cooling towers here are rare (if any).
Today the maximum here is to be 36 c (96.8 f)
Currently (3 PM) it is 33 c (91.4 f) and 58% RH (around 77-78 f wet bulb I guess)
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On 7/7/2012 6:54 PM, Chet Kincaid wrote:

I used to see a lot of abandoned small wooden cooling towers on older 1 and 2 story buildings around downtown Birmingham but I haven't noticed any lately. I may experiment with one some day. My friend LM owns a small sheet metal and fab shop and we've been talking about building a swamp cooler of some sort for the shop because it's very difficult to work in there in this hot weather we're having. o_O
TDD
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"The Daring Dufas" wrote in message

Not being a resident of the USA, I am not fully familiar with all the weather conditions over there, but I would have though where you live the humidity would be a bit high for a desert cooler.
I lived and worked in Sydney Australia for many years and desert (swamp) coolers were useless there. The air conditioning cooling design conditions in Sydney were 90 f DB 73 f WB.
The swamp coolers work well in the desert areas of OZ
Design of systems cooling towers in Sydney was entering wet bulb of 73 f and a leaving water temperature of 85 with a return water temperature of 95 f.
Looking at a swamp cooler there I guess you could expect a water temperature of 80-83 f (at a guess) with an entering wet bulb of 73. Let us assume 80 f water and then running the air though to cool it a 5 degree drop? So if the entering air was 90 and the supply air was 85 f, with a humidity of around what, 90%?
That would not make the factory very cool and pleasant
I worked in a desert area for a few years and they had a large building and although it had a refrigerated air conditioning system (lots of electronics inside) they had a large 'room' that had water sprays that cooled down the water and then they ran it though a coil to cool down the entering (fresh) air. This room was a bit like a large cooling tower.
Out in this desert area, on could wash your clothes and hang them on the line and they would be dry in 10 minutes during the hot weather. It could get up to 113 f out there. It did get above 116 once it seems.
Talking about hot weather in Australia there is a town called Marble Bar, they had some hot weather.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_Bar,_Western_Australia
//Marble Bar has an arid climate with very hot summers and mild to warm winters. The town set a world record of most consecutive days of maximum temperatures of 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or more, during a period of 160 such days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.[5]\\
In Adelaide the capital of South Australia they had a heat wave in 1939, 8 days of extremely hot weather rising to a maximum of 117.7 f http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/68534150
Although Adelaide is on the coast it tends to be hot and dry in the summer.
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On 7/9/2012 1:09 AM, snipped-for-privacy@truthonly.com.Sword of Baal wrote:

Swamp coolers are not suitable for cooling a residence in this area but are often used for business and industrial sites that produce a lot of heat when in operation. I've repaired them for dry cleaning plants and they're often used to cool makeup air for commercial kitchen exhaust hood systems. In some places they're used to provide some cooling for outdoor patios. Of course, cooling towers are used for air conditioning systems in the larger institutional campuses like hospitals here where chilled water is used for air conditioning. The smallest AC system I've ever worked on that used a cooling tower was a 120ton system for a bowling alley that had two 5H60 Carrier open drive compressors and heat exchangers. The largest was one of the 4,000ton chillers in a chilled water plant for a hospital campus that had upwards of 16,000tons of cooling capacity in the one plant that was one of several on campus. ^_^
TDD
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"The Daring Dufas" wrote in message

Well you are in the area so you would know what is going on there.

I installed a few small water cooled systems. In fact while living in Sydney I had a 8 HP chiller for cooling my house with a cooling tower on the roof. I serviced other water cooled systems that were not all that large, a couple of Carrier 6.5 HP systems come to mind.
My system on my home worked well, except for one day. I had designed the system with a fairly heavy hand and thought that I would never have a house full of people on a stinking hot day. It happened when I had about 30 people in there for a party and it was around 100 f outside.
It would have been OK but they all crowed in one room, if they had been spread out around the house it would have coped OK.
The chiller had a 8 HP Chrysler compressor in it and I had built the whole system myself. That was the smallest one I ever installed.
------------------
I had a 20 foot x 16 foot room with a bar in it and a refrigerated beer chiller for draught beer and they all hung around the bar.
I do not know if they use these type of beer coolers in the USA.
The beer chiller was a 'temprite' which is a flooded sealed pressure chamber with the beer passing though a stainless steel coil in the liquid refrigerant in the chamber. The temperature of the beer is controlled by a back pressure valve. It can cool down beer from 100 f to 39 f instantly and depending on the size of the condensing unit (Mine was a 1.5 HP semi hermetic) it can can handle a hell of a flow of beer.
At a construction camp I worked at once they chilled their beer with temprites and one night it was a 'free beer night' and they managed to drain a 18 gallon keg in 20 minutes................
All that gear is sitting in pieces in my shed now as I have no use for it.
BTW the beer chiller ran on R12, and I cannot be bothered setting it up again and changing the type of gas in it.
I also built a self contained unit and used a 1 HP Kelvinator air conditioning compressor in it, it too is in the shed and also has no R12 in it.
Times change...................
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What's your local humidity like? I suspect Birmingham Alabamamama is a bit too humid for swampers to help.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
My friend LM owns a small sheet metal and fab shop and we've been talking about building a swamp cooler of some sort for the shop because it's very difficult to work in there in this hot weather we're having. o_O
TDD
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On 7/9/2012 6:45 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

This is Alabamastan, humidity is a major export. ^_^
TDD
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I'd figure geothermal might be more effective than circulating water cooling tower with fins?
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 7/9/2012 6:45 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

This is Alabamastan, humidity is a major export. ^_^
TDD
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On 7/9/2012 5:14 PM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

When I worked in Huntsville, Alabama, you could drink the air. Good duck hunting though.,
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On Saturday, July 7, 2012 6:54:39 PM UTC-5, Chet Kincaid wrote:

Chet, You needed to see where the pipes from that equipment went to ; might have required you to bust down a door leading to the mechanical room to find out...but more than likely it was either a small Cooling Tower that cools condensor water on a small water cooled chiller that pumps chilled water to each motel room , or, an evaporative condensor for a stand alone compressor unit .

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